Preparing for a hearing
The law says the court may choose to hold a name-change hearing. Your county may always hold a hearing, or your county may choose not to hold the hearing. A judge or magistrate may schedule a hearing if they need more information about your case.
If the judge or magistrate schedules a hearing, the court may require you to publish a notice of the hearing in a local newspaper at least 30 days before the hearing. You are responsible for publication costs paid to the newspaper. Ask the Probate Court clerk if you need to publish notice before paying the publication costs.
If publishing your name change in the newspaper would risk your safety, you can add a confidentiality request form to your application. To be eligible for confidentiality, you must show proof that a public name change puts you in danger.
If you request a confidential name change, the court may schedule a separate confidentiality hearing. At the confidentiality hearing, you must show evidence proving that a public name change puts you in danger. If the confidentiality request is approved, the name change hearing is not published, and the court records are sealed. Check your Probate Court’s website for the confidentiality request form for your county.
Attend the hearing
If the court schedules a hearing, you must attend it to continue the name change process. The hearing may be in person or held remotely by telephone or videoconference. Be sure to bring or have available:
- Copies of your application forms. Bring copies of your name change application forms.
- Your photo ID. Bring your valid photo identification.
- Other documents your county requires. Bring any documents your county requires. Requirements may include a certified copy of your birth certificate, proof of your published hearing notice or other documents.
On the day of your hearing, go to the Probate Court and wait in the assigned courtroom or hallway until your case is called. If your hearing is held remotely by videoconference, make sure you have the sign-in information, and sign in early so you have time to fix any technical issues. If you don't have a computer or another way to attend a videoconference, ask the court if you can attend in-person or by telephone.
At the hearing, answer the judge’s questions respectfully and truthfully.
If you have any problems at the hearing, ask the judge if you can talk to a lawyer. The judge may approve or deny the request.